Future Stewards

Happy Holidays from Marli


Hi, I’m Marli. You humans call me “manna gum”, but that’s really the name of my whole family that stretches across Australia. We’re not all the same y’know? 

I’m standing here looking out across the bay in the place your first people called nipaluna, and some of you know as Hobart. It can get a bit cold and windy down here, but I like it. I’m big enough to see out over the little boxes you live in, and out to the water. I like to watch the tides going in and out, there’s something reassuring about it for me. 

I’ve been here 70 or so years now (I haven’t counted my rings lately), but I sure have seen some things in my time, let me tell you. But at this time of the year, as the weather is warm, and I shed my year’s bark, I often see all these little green trees being carried inside your boxes. When I was a kid, I wondered why you took them inside, I was always straining to see what happened to them, wishing that maybe I would be one of those ones picked so I could find out. But then I saw them come back out a few weeks later, all brown and dry. I realised pretty quickly I didn’t want to be one of them after all. 

But as the years passed, a new human family came and lived near me, and one day they took in a little green tree to their box. I feared the worst until a few weeks later it popped back out all green and happy – turns out that Isaac (as I know he’s called now) was in a pot. I mean, I feel for him as he can’t get his roots in the ground, but at least he gets to enjoy that time of the year inside, out of the sun (bless him, he’s a European Spruce so he can’t handle the sun like me), and dresses up in those lights and tinsel. 

This year, another one of the humans that live in my shadow, came up and started talking to me. They said that I was a beautiful tree and asked if it was ok that they got me all dressed up with lights and decorations too. I thought about it for awhile, and let her know that would be ok, but not to knock any of those sharp metal things into me like someone did in 1973 – I’ve still got the scar. Sure enough, she was gentle, and I’ve now got these colourful lights around my body which seems to make her happy, and I get smiles from some of the other humans in the area too. 

So, wherever you are this time of the year, take a moment to have a word with those of us who look over you, keeping the air clean, the soil healthy, and offering you a shady spot in our sunbaked land. 

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